(WPIX) – Times Square has already generated $ 5.8 billion in municipal and state taxes, but the COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted much of that.
Now New York City is trying to entice tourists with a temporary prop – a 110-foot Ferris wheel.
“New York is back and the wheel is finally here,” said Vito Bruno, the creator of the Times Square Wheel.
Six years in the making, the Times Square Wheel was a pre-pandemic dream for Bruno. And finally, since this week, the wheel stands in the middle of the crossroads of the world.
The 10-minute ride costs $ 20 per adult. But the organizers offer an incentive to vaccinated tourists: entry is free for the first 100 people, each day, if they have been vaccinated since August 1.
Locals, however, seem less than enthusiastic about these crowds bringing the same old issues, namely costumed vendors and characters harassing tourists and New Yorkers.
“They literally come and harass us for tips,” said Shante Shaw, a tourist from upstate New York. “If I wanted a picture, I would go to you guys.”
Keith Powers, a New York City Council member representing Times Square, is trying to resolve the issue.
“My Bill… creates clearer rules that everyone must stay inside the shopping area so as not to harass people. No more wandering around Times Square looking for someone to take a photo with, ”said Powers.
The Times Square wheel is expected to stop spinning on September 12, but not everyone wants it.
“It’s so much fun, so alive,” said Kevin Wilson, a New Jersey cyclist. “It should be permanent if the infrastructure can handle it.”
Times Square Wheel tickets cost $ 20 per adult and $ 15 per child (ages 2-10). A VIP ticket, allowing passengers to skip the line, is available for $ 35. More information can be found on the Times Square website.